EDMONTON – Offered a free place to stay while he worked out some visa issues after signing with the Bellingham Rapids of the now-defunct PDL, a 19-year-old Adam Loga was shown to his room in head coach Steve Millar's Langley, B.C. house.
There were bunk beds.
And he had a roommate.
"I was living in a hotel for a bit and then the family welcomed me into their house," explained the now MacEwan Griffins men's soccer head coach, long retired from a pro playing career. "I'm very grateful for that. Tremendous people, tremendous family. They had a new baby daughter Taylor and she was in one room and their four-year-old son Tommy was in the other with his bunk beds, Tonka sheets.
"I had to jump on that top bunk. I lived there for about six weeks."
In a true full circle moment a decade and a half later, Tommy Millar has committed to the Griffins men's soccer team under Loga's tutelage for the 2022-23 Canada West season.
"It's been crazy to reconnect," said Loga. "Just wild. I would never have thought I'd be coaching a young man that I shared a bunk bed with or thought I'd share a bunk bed with a four-year-old, for that matter. It was an experience and it was a blessed one. I'm very happy that they did that for me. I'm glad I can go full circle there and mentor the next generation.
"The stories he remembered when I was living there are actually pretty humbling," added Loga, who became like an older brother to Millar. "When his dad found out I was coaching at MacEwan, he linked us and here he is."
Millar comes with an impressive resume, including playing in Spain during the 2019-20 season for Antiguoko KE – a feeder team for Real Sociedad at the time (now for Athletic Bilbao) – under coach Mikel Alonso (former La Liga player and brother of Xabi Alonso).
The attacking midfielder helped Fraser Valley Premier win a B.C. provincial title and a silver at nationals in 2016, three BCSPL league championships (2015, 2018, 2019) and recently led Fusion FC to the 2021 Vancouver Metro Soccer League U21 championship.
"He's a really humble kid who has some experience internationally and he's a 2003, so he's coming in after playing men's (league)," said Loga. "He's won provincial championships, he's had good runs at the national level finishing as a runner-up there. He's faced the pressure of being at professional club trials. He was in England (training with Port Vale FC) and over in Spain, so he's faced that standard and the kind of heat that comes with it."
Loga sees Millar as a key contributor for the Griffins' attack, which lacked depth last season.
"He plays in the 9 and 10," said the coach. "His best position is the 10, I'd say. We're looking for people to help out Alvin (Mazaheri) and Stef (Gajic).
"If we can get a fresh Steffi and Alvin and they're pushed in training, it just makes our team better."